Previous govts had no policy to handle urbanisation, energy requirements: Union minister Puri
Urbanisation and energy requirements were neglected by previous governments as the focus was more on rural development with “the vision of India living in villages”, said Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday.
The central minister for housing and urban affairs was speaking at the first edition of Pune Public Policy Festival at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics.
As people started migrating to urban areas from semi-urban pockets for job opportunities, the economic calculation started going wrong since the previous governments did not have an urban policy in place, a media release said quoting the minister.
“The cumulative spent on urban space by the central government was about Rs 1,57,000 crore between 2004 and 2014. After 2014, we realised the challenges in urbanisation and we saw an opportunity in it,” he said.
The current government has increased its urban spent by 11 times, Puri said. “Today, we are spending about Rs 18 lakh crore for this purpose. This expenditure was necessary considering the fact that 65 per cent of India’s GDP (gross domestic product) comes from urban population.
“Now, we do have a trade-off. Simplistically putting it, can we make one choice from growth or being environmentally conscious? The answer is we have to do both. Which is why the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) had declared an entire year as the Global Housing Technology Challenge Year,” he said. Puri said 87 per cent of India’s current fuel requirements are met through imports and the country’s rate of growth in fuel demand is three times more than the global average. “So to deal with this situation we are addressing the trilemma of availability, affordability and sustainability... We have a 3.5 million square kilometres sedimentary basin. We opened up 1 million sedimentary basins which were no-go areas. We opened it up to exploration,” he said. The country has gone from production sharing to revenue sharing contracts with oil exploration companies, he said explaining efforts to tackle India's growing energy requirements.
“We have also gone to the extent of incentivising the finance for exploration,” he added.
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